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Linux Server Management: Five Signs You're Doing It Wrong

Oct 09, 2009, 15:35 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Charlie Schluting)

[ Thanks to Michael Hall for this link. ]

"Server deployment systems, such as Kickstart, allow administrators to configure most anything to be set after a server is loaded. Kickstart is designed to install a set of packages, and maybe configure a few users that should be able to login immediately after the installation of the operating system. Indeed, you can also copy in configuration files and turn Kickstart into a robust system that sets up many network services on each server at install time. Another school of thought on this matter exists, however.

"What happens after installation has completed? Immediately afterward, you are in a known configuration state. Every configuration file on the system is exactly as it was when you copied it in using Kickstart. Immediately after that, the running state of the machine is unknowable. A sysadmin could login and "fix" something, changing files and not documenting the change. The current running state of your Apache Web server, for example, very likely has diverged since you first configured it.

"If the server were to crash, you might have backups of /etc/, but the restore process is lengthy, manual, and error prone. Using a proper configuration management system means that all changes to the Apache configuration will be done in a central place, and then pushed out to the server."

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